Move a mature palm tree.

Asked April 29, 2017, 2:00 PM EDT

My Mom has a large palm tree that needs to be moved. It has grown up into the over hangs. I know it's late in the year but we would like to dig it up and move it to another household. At this point what is the best way to do this. I've talked to a number of professionals in the area and the responses have been that they don't do this. We'd like to avoid chopping it down.

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

I suspect that the reason local folks don’t transplant palms is that there are so few palms in northwest landscapes. Thus few, if any, nearby tree care companies have experience with the techniques of digging and replanting palms. Then, even if you are fortunate enough to locate a willing company, the cost may be considered exhorbitant, depending upon the size of the “mature palm,” the distance it must be moved, the required equipment, and more. Perhaps the cost would be considered reasonable if shared you and the recipient.

To be frank, you may be unable to locate a nearby tree-care professional who is willing to accept this uncommon task. Even in southern California, where I worked for many years with professional horticulture, only large scale companies moved palms, and that for wealthy clients such as hotels, resorts, theme parks, and other sizable commercial entities.

“The common recommendation … is to transplant palms during the warmer times of year, ideally in late spring or early summer, because a long growing season is available for regeneration of the root system.” (See http://ucanr.edu/sites/UrbanHort/files/80077.pdf)

The process to transplant woody trees is far different than for a palm and is described in “Transplanting Palms in the Landscape” http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep001.

When it comes to tree work, we recommend Certified Arborists. You can search for a company with such a person on staff in the Yellow Pages, online or the hard copy. Or you can search with your zipcode at http://treesaregood.org/. Phone around, ask lots of questions, get several bids, and you may be lucky.